City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Our Growing Ballet Community

Cinderella, The Nutcracker, and Peter Pan

Live artistic performances such as a symphony, opera, and ballet are part of the human experience that
has been around for centuries. There is something so classic and comforting about enjoying these
performances even in contemporary settings and stylings; they are an important part of our culture.
Over the years, especially with Covid-19, it has been harder to experience these types of recitals, but
they are certainly making a comeback in the Grand Valley. In the dance world, that includes the first-ever professional ballet company here in Grand Junction, thanks to the extensive efforts of Theresa

Theresa grew up in the Grand Valley and has been around dance nearly all her life. From years of lessons
with Colorado West Ballet under Trudy McCraenor, and Dance Center West under Diane Moon, Theresa
grew a passion for the art form. She decided to make it her career, eventually opening her own studio,
Absolute Dance and Performing Arts in 2007. When she first began Absolute Dance she had five
employees and an average of 100 students. Now there are nineteen employees and nearly 450 students.
It is clear that interest in dance has grown and it is wonderful to see that studios are able to grow as well
to accommodate all who are interested. Having grown up in the valley, Theresa was often frustrated by
the lack of opportunity in the valley compared to bigger cities, not just for students but for those
wishing to seek employment in the world of dance. That is why when Covid-19 freed up a bit of her
schedule, she focused on her next endeavor – starting her own professional company.
When the pandemic was at its peak, dance classes, performances, and travel for competitions were put
on hold. The time typically spent in the studio was then able to be used to develop Theresa’s dream of
starting a company, along with the efforts of her fellow co-artistic director, Nicole Wilkinson. The two
spent many hours researching and filing paperwork for the non-profit, Colorado West Performing Arts
Company, which was approved in December of 2021. Once that hurtle was tackled, the next step was
recruiting dancers.

The biggest challenge with being a new company was getting the name out there for dancers to
audition. However, many dancers found great appeal in a company based in a smaller city, with many
opportunities to spread awareness of the art form, become mentors to younger dancers, and create a
healthy environment where dancers at all levels and age groups could thrive.

The first performance from the company was Cinderella, performed recently at the Avalon Theater.
There was a remarkable turnout and support from the community. Upcoming performances include the
classic: The Nutcracker in December, Peter Pan in March, and Romantics, Classicals, and Contemporary
Works in April. The company is currently relying on the support of the community through ticket sales
and donors hoping to support this beautiful and timeless art form here in the Grand Valley. I myself was
a ballet dancer for over a decade and am thrilled to see the progress ballet has made in Grand Junction. I
look forward to the future performances put on by Theresa, Nicole, and the rest of their remarkable